By Denise Turney
Surnise is author, Chassie West’s first mystery. The book has garnered Chassie West an Edgar Award nomination, not bad for a mystery debut.
Set in a small Southern town aptly named Sunrise, North Carolina, the book opens with the main character, Leigh Ann Warren deciding to leave her position as a Washington, D. C. police officer. Leigh Annâ’s partner has almost been shot to death during a seemingly routine police stop. Beset with the fact that she may have nearly caused her partner to lose his life, Leigh Ann comes to the conclusion that the only way to relieve herself of the paralyzing guilt she feels is to leave Washington and return home to Sunrise. It is what she discovers upon her arrival back home that sets the story in motion.
Much of the story centers around an old boundary, a cemetery where the town’s deceased Black residents have been laid to rest and the prospect of a new mall, a structure that will upset and remove many of the gravesites at the cemetery if erected. Oddly enough the cemetery sits close to where Leigh Ann’s Nunna resides. Leigh Ann and Nunna (the woman who raised Leigh Ann) haven’t spoken in awhile. However, as soon as they gaze upon one another all is forgiven and they express only love for each other. Before the day’s end, Nunna tells Leigh Ann about the cemetery and how it might soon be moved. She’s firm. She’ll fight against the cemetery’s removal with her life.
It isn’t long before readers discover that more than old bones are about to be upset in Sunrise and Leigh Ann finds herself center of a criminal investigation – the very thing she came to Sunrise in effort to escape. Sunrise is an intriguing mystery that is tightly written and created so that readers are unable to guess the ending. Chassie West knows how to create multi-dimensional characters that help readers bond with the story. The writing is well-paced. The suspense will keep readers turning the pages to its surprising and climactic conclusion.
Denise Turney is the author of Portia, Love Has Many Faces and Spiral. Ask for Denise’s new book, SPIRAL, at bookstores now!! Visit Denise online at www.chistell.com